Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Loopty Loop

Pushing the boundaries of modern architecture is not an easy thing to do. In a time of strict building codes and complex engineering guidelines, buildings have to be safe, efficient, and structurally sound before they can be daring and original.

Which is why I assumed that when the engineers first saw the rendering of Rem Koolhaus's design for China's Central Television Headquarters, they were struck with piercing headaches thinking of the challenge ahead. Not to mention that the site in Beijing is also in a seismic zone!

And yet, engineering consultant Ove Arup makes it sound so simple that he even sketches little drawings of how Koolhaus's design will become a reality.

The basement and 10-storey high base of the building are built conventionally from ground level using tower cranes. The construction of the towers continues with climbing cranes.

The heads of the towers are completed and are used to support the first sections of the linking overhang floors. These cantilever out from the towers 163m above ground. The two cantilevers are built further and further out until they form a two storey transfer deck which will carry the other 11 storeys of the overhang, and lock the movements of the two towers together.

Koolhaus, who designed last year's much hyped Seattle Central Library, definitely delivered one of the most novel structures I've seen with his vision for the Central Television building (even if it does resemble a lower case "a"). And Arup's process of erecting the structure is surprisingly intuitive and straightforward, even if I could never quite pull it off successfully with my lincoln logs as a kid.

Via Daily Dose.

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